Holiday Freight Shipping Tips: How to Prevent Cargo Theft

Learn how to avoid cargo theft with helpful tips from Unishippers.
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When shipping your freight from point A to point B, nothing is more important than ensuring it arrives safely — especially during the busy holiday shipping months! And while loss and damage are occasionally unavoidable, cargo theft can be particularly difficult to anticipate during the holidays. Luckily, we’re here to help!

Read on as Unishippers outlines everything you need to know about preventing freight shipping theft this holiday season.

The rise of cargo theft

As freight shipping volumes continue to increase with each holiday season, unfortunately, so do reports of cargo theft. On top of that, reports of cargo theft have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, with CargoNet reporting an increase of nearly 40% from 2019 to 2020. This increase in theft year-round, plus the increased number of high-value shipments during the holidays (not to mention overwhelmed shippers and carriers), makes this holiday shipping season a prime time for cargo theft.

While any freight is subject to theft, cargo thieves often target items that can easily be sold on the black market, such as electronics and household goods, and items that can be consumed quickly like food and beverages. Pilferage (stealing just a few boxes from a pallet) is especially common, since it can be hard to detect in transit.

Preventing theft during the holidays

You may be wondering what you can do to protect your freight from being stolen in transit. Unishippers is here to help you protect your freight — and your company’s bottom line — this holiday shipping season with these helpful suggestions:

  • Vet your freight carriers. Although most carriers take precautions to prevent cargo theft, it’s still important to ask how they seal and secure their trailers in transit. By choosing to work with carriers who take special care to keep their trailers from being tampered with, you can limit your chances of experiencing freight theft.
  • Screen and monitor your employees. Since a large percentage of freight thieves are aided by an employee of the victimized company, consider conducting background checks and other screenings of prospective and current employees to minimize likelihood of theft.
  • Fill out your bill of lading (BOL) carefully. Your shipment’s BOL helps establish the details of the freight being shipped. Be sure to specify the number of containers in your shipment, as well as the number of goods in each container — this will be important if you end up needing to file a claim! Learn how to avoid making common mistakes on your BOL.
  • Opt for faster delivery speeds. To help limit cargo theft, consider opting for faster or more direct transit for your freight shipping. By avoiding having your freight sit overnight — or simply by needing less handling in transit — you can give your shipment the best chance of a successful, trouble-free delivery.
  • Cover your cargo with freight shipping insurance. While it’s a common misconception that shipments are automatically insured by the carrier through their limits of liability, carrier liability may not actually protect the full value of stolen shipments. That’s why we recommend opting for additional insurance for your important, high-value shipments. Learn more about the differences between insurance and carrier liability.

Dealing with stolen cargo

Unfortunately, even with the best preparation, theft is sometimes still inevitable — especially around the holidays. Luckily, there are still steps you can take to recover lost funds from stolen freight. If some or all of your shipment is stolen in transit, make sure to notify the carrier and file a claim right away. Download Unishippers’ Roadmap to Freight Shipping Claims to learn how to successfully file a freight claim.

This holiday season, work with a freight shipping team you can trust

Whether you need help preparing your freight shipments for transit or filing a claim, the Unishippers team is standing by to provide expert consultation — along with access to 65+ reputable carriers — to get your freight from point A to point B with the proper protection. Contact us today to get help navigating freight shipping hiccups this holiday season and beyond!

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